Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Erwin James

Erwin James

A little while ago, exchanges with the writer and former criminal, Erwin James Monahan, were included in this blog.

Since then, there has been a lot of discussion on the net and in the press about his real name, the crimes for which he served twenty years in prison and whether he had falsified details of his experience with the French Foreign Legion in articles published in the Guardian.

Nothing that has been published invalidates or calls into question his comments reproduced in this blog. (or, indeed, most of what he has ever written about criminals, criminology and his own past.)

An article in the Guardian (24/4/9) explained Erwin James' own point of view.

The Guardian Readers' Editor (Siobhain Butterworth) comments in the following terms this morning (29/4/9) and I entirely agree with her conclusions:

"It is never acceptable to lie to - or deliberately mislead - readers, but a sense or proportion about this incident is needed. Monahan is not a trained journalist who falsified news reports; he is a writer who, having pulled himself out of the most dreadful mire, went on to make the mistake of lying about his past to protect an identity he had been concealing for years. He has caused damage to the reputation of the Guardian and given some people reason to doubt his work. He will have to re-earn their trust. I wish him luck."